Friday, January 28, 2011

Wehrmann's at Hilldale: "I can’t stay in business being someone’s showroom"

Closing the book on a chapter in Madison's retail history.

Hilldale shortly after it opened in 1962.

Wehrmann’s Travel Shop is closing at Hilldale. (Wisconsin State Journal, 1/27/2011)

Excerpt: Wehrmann has been with the store for 36 years, beginning when it was on State Street. Her husband Jeff, who died in 1993, was the great-grandson of founder Charles Wehrmann. Charles Wehrmann, a German immigrant, started it as a saddle and harness business in 1886.

Generations of travelers bought their luggage and other travel supplies at Wehrmann’s. In recent years, the economic downturn and online shopping have had a significant impact on her business, Wehrmann said.

“With the new smart phones and other technology, people will come in and scan barcodes and then go online to check to see where they can buy them cheaply anywhere in the world,” Wehrmann said. “For some people, Wehrmann’s became a showroom. And I can’t stay in business being someone’s showroom

Those darn apps.

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